Tranmere’s relegation worries continue after they were humbled 3-0 by impressive Doncaster Rovers at Prenton Park.
A second half double from debutant Jacob Ramsey and one from substitute Fejiri Okenabirhie did it for the visitors as the struggling Whites stayed six points adrift of safety.
Micky Mellon made four changes to the side that suffered a miserable defeat at Bolton on Saturday.
Former goal hero Andy Cook came straight into the side, spearheading a three-pronged attack alongside James Vaughan and Morgan Ferrier.
With loan signing Morgan Feeney already back at Everton with a torn hamstring, Manny Monthe returned in the heart of defence.
Luke McCullough and Liam Ridehalgh both started, with Jake Caprice, Connor Jennings and Harvey Gilmour all dropping to the bench.
Cook wasted no time putting his presence about – winning a flick on for Vaughan who saw his left foot shot deflected wide for a corner.
A freekick from Ridehalgh broke to Kieron Morris on the edge of the box, but he could only shank it wide, as Rovers started much the better team.
The visitors had barely got out of their own half but on the half hour mark they almost took the lead when Ridehalgh cleared a shot from Ramsey off the line before Scott Davies heroically diverted the rebound effort over the bar from point blank range.
The Rovers goalkeeper was called back into action when Brad Halliday crossed for Devante Cole, but the striker’s header was straight at Davies.
Five minutes before the break, Ferrier steamrolled his way into the area and crossed low from the left but when then ball broke for Alex Woodyard he could only blaze the ball over the bar.
Cole then missed a great chance at the other end, heading over at the far post.
Cook’s aerial threat was causing Doncaster problems and when he won another header, only a last-ditch block from Madger Gomes prevented Vaughan from scoring.
The visitors returned with more purpose after the break and twice went close to taking the lead in the opening passages of play.
First, Niall Eniss got round the back and hit the side-netting, before Kieran Sadler was denied by an excellent save from Davies.
But Rovers weren’t stemming the tide and when Sadler pulled the ball back from the bi-line in the 54th minute Ramsey was there to side foot it home.
They nearly doubled their advantage almost immediately when Eniss curled a low effort just wide with Davies beaten.
But when Kane Wilson beat Cameron John, the Doncaster defender brought his opposite number down in the edge of the box, narrowly avoiding conceding a penalty.
Mellon hooked Vaughan for Jennings on the hour, as he looked for more creativity in midfield.
Wilson was presented with a freekick opportunity on the edge of the penalty area but his attempt to stick it under the wall only resulted in an easy roll back to goalkeeper Seny Deing.
Doncaster doubled their advantage with quarter of and hour to play when Ramsey headed home his second from Eniss’ cross.
And they added a third when dithering from Manny Monthe allowed Okenabirhie to sneak in and put the result beyond doubt.
Tranmere are now without a win since December 21 and have lost their last four league matches.
Micky Mellon said: “The team in the final third give away far too many cheap goals in order to give ourselves any chance of getting anything out of the games.
“I thought the effort levels and generally the way that we knocked the ball around, especially in the first half was fine.
“We started the second half getting a wee bit stretched and out-run at times. But they are the moments there that at these levels now – that’s when you’ve got to be clean with your defending.
“That’s when the wrestle comes on and you’ve got to be good in that spell.
“We speak about that all of the time. We seem to give a goal away in that spell and then we’re chasing the game.
“We can see why they are up where they are because when it becomes who’s going to fold first, you can see that they’ve done this many times.
“They’re good at it and that’s why they’re where they are.”
Tranmere Rovers 0
Doncaster Rovers 3
Ramsey 54, 75 Okenabirhie 84
Half time: 0-0
Referee: Leigh Doughty
Star man: Morgan Ferrier (Tranmere striker)
Tranmere team (3-4-3): Davies, Woods (Caprice 86), Monthe, Ridehalgh, Morris, Woodyard, McCullough (Perkins 72), Wilson, Vaughan (Jennings 61), Cook, Ferrier
Tranmere subs: Pilling, Nelson, Gilmour, Danns
Doncaster Rovers team (4-3-3): Dieng, Halliday, Anderson, Wright, Sadler, Whiteman, Gomes, Ramsey (Blair 86), Eniss (Sheaf 83), John, Cole (Okenabirhie 73)
Doncaster subs: Jones, James, Taylor, Watters